Photos: A delicious preview of Linger's new spring menu

All photos by Lori Midson.

"During the winter season, we hibernate inward," says Daniel Asher, culinary director of Root Down and Linger. But spring? Spring, he counters, "represents turning outward, feeling the sunshine on our skin and setting the tone for seasonality that takes us through the rest of the year." Spring, he adds, "gives us all an opportunity to eat food with beautiful tones and colors -- food that makes us feel energized, happy and free."

And Linger is celebrating the start of spring with a new menu -- and a collaborative kitchen crew that's no longer helmed by an executive chef.

See also: Matt Selby is back on his game with renewed energy -- and a new menu -- at Central Bistro & Bar

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First look: Mayan Manjar Yucateco opens in the former Maria Empanada space

Four partners -- Araceli Reynos, Ezzie Dominguez and brothers Isaias Poot and Juan Bootista, all of whom hail from the Yucat√°n Peninsula, in southeastern Mexico -- have joined together to open one of Denver's only Yucatanian restaurants: Mayan Manjar Yucateco, which unlocked its doors last Friday, taking over the space that formerly held Maria Empanada, which is relocating to the old Buffalo Doughboy digs on Broadway.

See also: Maria Empanada relocating to the former Buffalo Doughboy space

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Matt Selby is back on his game with renewed energy -- and a new menu -- at Central Bistro & Bar

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All photos by Lori Midson.
A happy Matt Selby, along with the crew of Central Bistro & Bar.

Late last November, when Matt Selby exited his executive chef post at the Corner House, an irresistibly charming restaurant in Jefferson Park co-owned by James Iacino, president of Seattle Fish, he stepped away from the spotlight, quietly doing time in the kitchens of Beast + Bottle and Jonesy's EatBar and pausing to reflect on his priorities. "I needed to take some time to find myself and figure out what was most important to me," admits Selby. "And what means the most to me," he says, is "cooking, getting my ass kicked on a Friday and Saturday night and working with people that I can collaborate with."

All of which he has found at Central Bistro & Bar, where he's now the executive chef, collaborating, he says, with a galley full of pros and a solid management team, led by owner Isiah Salazar and general manager Seth Murty.

See also: Corner House has new partners (Leigh Sullivan!), a new menu and a new chef

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First look: Bruxie Gourmet Waffle Sandwiches opens Tuesday in Glendale

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All photos by Lori Midson.

Denver, says Dean Simon, is prime culinary territory for a "markedly unique concept," in this case, a fast-casual, gourmet waffle sandwich shop that goes by the name of Bruxie, the "i" of which is roofed with black, red and yellow dots, the colors of which are representative of Belgium, home, of course, to the prized Belgian waffle.

See also: Bruxie Gourmet Waffle Sandwiches opening in March

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Sneak peek: The Kitchen Next Door opens today in CitySet

All photos by Lori Midson.
CitySet, the impressive restaurant project in Glendale at the intersection of Colorado Boulevard and Cherry Creek Drive, just got another big culinary boost thanks to Hugo Matheson and Kimbal Musk. Today they opened The Kitchen Next Door Glendale, the second outpost of the original spot in Boulder that resides adjacent to the Kitchen Upstairs and the Kitchen, the duo's flagship restaurant. The Kitchen also boasts a location in Denver -- and later this summer, will have a third at Union Station and a fourth in Fort Collins.

See also: The Kitchen's Hugo Matheson on escapism, a contrary vegan and fair wages

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Exclusive first peek: Gozo will open on South Broadway...soon

All photos by Lori Midson.

Back in June, when I first reported that chef-restaurateur Dylan Moore was closing Deluxe and Juanita's, the two adjoining spaces he owned on South Broadway, I also revealed that both restaurants had been snatched up by Frank Jolley, a longtime restaurateur and nightclub owner who had most recently spent the last few years in Napa Valley. When I interviewed Jolley in early June, his hope was that he'd open Gozo, the restaurant that now occupies both of Moore's former spaces, by August of last year, but permitting issues and inspections significantly slowed down his progress. But finally, after months of impatience, Gozo, named for the idyllic island in the Mediterranean Sea, is nearing completion, and once Jolley gets the city to sign off on his liquor license -- he's hoping that'll happen within the next week -- Gozo will be the newest eatery to join South Broadway's restaurant row.

See also: Dylan Moore closes Deluxe and Juanita's; spaces will become Gozo, a Mediterranean restaurant

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First look: Bad Daddy's Burger Bar turns out mammoth burgers in Cherry Creek

All photos by Lori Midson.

"Um, how the hell do you eat this thing?" I ask Adam Long, a former sous chef at the White House and the current culinary director and executive chef of Bad Daddy's Burger Bar. "You need to have a big mouth," he deadpans. Realizing that I'm not about ready to wrap my jaws around what must be the biggest burger I've ever seen in Denver, he offers up another suggestion: "Just use your hands to smash it down." That doesn't work either. No, this is a burger -- as are most of the burgers at Bad Daddy's, which opened today in Cherry Creek -- that requires a knife and a fork, not to mention a stomach the size of Richard Sherman's ego, or worse, the size of the hole in our hearts after Seattle's demolition of the Denver Broncos. These are burgers that, at least from a size perspective, dwarf all others.

See also: Bad Daddy's Burger Bar moving into former Tony P's in Cherry Creek

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Exclusive first look: Ambli, Michel Wahaltere's new restaurant, puts a global spin on takeout

All photos by Lori Midson.
Ambli exec chef Michel Wahaltere.

Michel Wahaltere has cooked all over Colorado, most recently at Gisella, in Aspen, which
closed last year. He was the opening chef of Campo de Fiori in Cherry Creek -- now Pikkas; the original exec chef of the 9th Door in LoDo; the opening chef of MiniBAR, a concept that also shuttered years ago in Cherry Creek; the exec chef of the long-gone Moda, now 100% de Agave -- and several more local restaurant and culinary concepts, including a food truck that he named Chicago Louie's paddy wagon. And now he's back in Denver, where he's the executive chef of Ambli Gourmet Eatery & Wine, a strip mall stunner that opened earlier this month at 600 South Holly Street.

See also: Range will bring cuisine from the American West to downtown Denver

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First look: Ruth's Chris Steak House reopens downtown - and Mayor Hancock couldn't be happier

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All photos by Lori Midson.
"Welcome back to Denver," proclaimed Denver mayor Michael Hancock, who held his knife steady as he sliced into a bloody filet at yesterday's ribbon-cutting ceremony at Ruth's Chris Steak House, the beefy, New Orleans-based shrine to cow that reopened last night in a swanky, 10,000-square-foot space in downtown Denver, nearly five years after it closed its original location in LoDo. "You're like a long-lost girlfriend that finally came back to the one she loved," enthused Hancock, adding that Ruth's Chris would be "phenomenally successful" and "add to the luster of downtown and the 16th Street Mall." And then, after slicing his steak, Hancock wondered aloud what he should do next. "Eat it!" thundered general manager Eddy Gomez. Hancock, of course, obliged.

The steak house, which Gomez described as "warm, welcoming and elegant," is open for dinner nightly. Here's a first look at the space and the sizzle.

See also: Elway's Downtown getting a lift -- and a facelift

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Sneak Peek: Work & Class opens Wednesday in RiNo

All photos by Lori Midson.

Early last spring, Delores Tronco and her boyfriend, Tony Maciag, both of whom are Denver restaurant industry veterans, signed on the dotted line, inking a lease that would make them the owners of their own restaurant -- a restaurant, says Tronco, whose name is also synonymous with the Justice League of Street Food, that was built on a leap of faith. "There is no backup plan. Tony and I put everything we have on the line, even clearing out our savings account to do this, but we believe in this restaurant, so we took the leap, leveraging everything we had to take a good, calculated risk," says Tronco, adding, too, that while she and Maciag had financial assistance, there's no rich uncle harboring gold coins in a safe. "We have no angel investors. Everyone who helped us get this restaurant open -- they're all friends, family members and people that we've worked with who did this because they believed in it and wanted to invest money in something that was more personal than the stock market."

The culmination of their efforts will be unveiled to the public on Wednesday, when Tronco, Maciag and chef-partner Dana Rodriguez, the former exec chef of Bistro Vendome, open Work & Class in a 1,468-square-foot space at Broadway and Larimer, a mixed-use shipping-container project that's pioneered by Denver-based Gravitas Development Group.

See also: Dana Rodriguez, chef of Bistro Vendome, will become exec chef-partner of Work & Class

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